Lazhkmazhon nestles like a bird between the jutting peaks of Caos and Zhua, except its thousand feathers are stone and its towers too angular to be natural. It is set amid a web of butresses which hold the citadel back from cascading brick by brick down the steep mountainside. Even in Summer, this terrain is perilous and hard to navigate for all but the most agile of chamois.
But in Winter, when the teeth of the wind gnaw at the butresses like rats on rope, bearing snow like an incurable disease, it becomes totally impassable. The screes are layered with sheets of ice and the world becomes an unending night of arctic fury. It is not until the Spring, when the snow rots in its clefts and the last rockfalls clatter their way to the ground, that it becomes safe to travel there again.
The Law of Lazhkmazhon forbids anyone to walk in the mountains during this time, for it is the duty of Law to protect Life at all costs.
Hence the custom of the Eternal Night.
A Curfew is sounded on the morning of the fifteenth day after the first frost.
While the horn is blown, the gates of the city are pulled shut, with a clang that is said to shatter the ice on the surface of the Amethyst Lake.
The Eternal Night lasts four months, during which no-one is allowed to leave the city of Lazhkmazhon, save the Khosthasorne on their flying beasts, that they might search for law-breakers wandering in the mountains, so they may be brought back into the citadel for the remainder of the Night.
The Psychology of the Night
Many different people can be found in the Citadel during the Night - not only its permanent citizens, but also pilgrims, merchants and nobles who were found travelling in the Askharnn range after the sounding of the Curfew. Thus the city becomes a melting pot of emotions: tension between locals, who believe the wanderers are foolish and would do best to remain in the city, and wanderers who are resentful at being confined within the walls of Lazhkmazhon; conflict between the temporary residents because they are from different cultures; a strange ambivalence of feeling for those who were saved by the Khosthasorne in the mountains but are now not the be released from the city.
As such it can be a very claustrophobic place, and many people do things they later regret: they indulge in brief liaisons, harsh words, even assault, suicide or attempted murder. It is certainly not a stable place to stay, and is kept in strict check by the city guard.
There is a place, an accessible plateau high above Lazhkmazhon, where many people go for quiet and reflection. Even at the height of the Night there are days of sunshine, when the dazzling light reflects off the frozen mountainland around and refracts rainbowlike through the sheets of ice. This plateau, which people call the Monastery, is an ideal place to watch this beautiful side of the Night, and an excellent location for the courageous to brave the storms and watch aurorae.
Rangers of the sky, the Khosthasorne scout the mountains throughout the year from the backs of their trained gryphons. Clad in leather for warmth, these beasts can remain airborne in all but the worst arctic storms. The Khosthasorne of Lazhkmazhon have particularly terrifying facemasks with which they equip their gryphons.
They are good men, who value life above all else and have a deep respect for the devastating side of Nature. However, they have no patience with those who would risk their lives in blizzards or squalls, and rescue stranded travellers only to leave them safely contained in Lazhkmazhon.